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This Week in Seattle is your weekly dispatch of need-to-know news from the Emerald City. (BigStock Image)

Seattle is the fastest-growing city in the country

Seattle’s infamously crowded Mercer Street.
(GeekWire Photo)

The Seattle Times ‘FYI Guy’ Gene Balk crunched the latest Census data to reveal what many of us already instinctively knew: Seattle’s population is growing faster than any other major city in the U.S. The city’s population hit 704,352 in 2016, growing at a 3.1 percent rate. That amounts to 57 people moving here per day, according to Balk. That growth, driven by the booming tech industry, surpassed Gold Rush-era population gains for the first time ever. “Seattle is a city on steroids,” Balk says. [The Seattle Times]

Trump’s travel ban likely headed for the Supreme Court

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
(GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

A panel of federal appeals judges in Virginia this week refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, citing religious discrimination. Judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over the same executive order in Seattle last week, though they have not yet given their decision. Whatever they decide, the travel ban will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court. Trump issued the revised executive order after his first attempt to limit travel from those countries was blocked by a lawsuit brought by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. His lawsuit and other legal challenges to the ban have been largely supported by the tech industry. “Another federal appeals court has agreed with our arguments that President Trump’s revised travel ban is unconstitutional,” Ferguson said of the most recent ruling. “This is an important victory for the rule of law.” [Recode, GeekWire, ATG.WA.Gov]

Steve Ballmer says a Seattle income tax would be bad for business

Steve Ballmer discusses USA Facts. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told KIRO Radio this week that a Seattle income tax could create an “unfavorable business climate” and “cause people to think about moving jobs elsewhere.” Ballmer has taken a particular interest in civic affairs lately, launching a non-profit called USAFacts, to bring more transparency to government data. The City Council unanimously approved a motion earlier this month to begin consideration of an income tax bill that would target Seattle’s wealthiest. The law will almost certainly be challenged in court, as the state’s constitution forbids local jurisdictions from imposing an income tax. The income tax debate is featuring heavily in Seattle’s contentious mayoral race, with many candidates endorsing the idea.  [KIRO, GeekWire]

Seattle’s pregnant giraffe shows signs the big day is imminent

Tufani is getting restless – and who could blame her after more than a year of pregnancy? Restlessness is just one of several signs that the Woodland Park Zoo giraffe is exhibiting that suggest a birth could come any day now. Giraffes have a 14- to 15-month gestation period so Tufani’s calf is expected sometime between May and July. But changes in her udder, a reduced appetite, and a desire to stay close to her shelter indicate her baby could come sooner rather than later. More than 3,000 Seattleites have placed bets on when the city’s “tallest baby” will arrive. [Blog.Zoo.Org]

Washington state legislature goes into overtime…again

State Capitol
The State Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (Flickr Photo / WSDOT)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered stalemated Olympia to enter a second special legislative session after they failed to agree on a budget that would adequately fund the state’s public schools. That funding is mandated by a Supreme Court ruling and the legislature is facing hefty daily fines until it can come up with the necessary cash. The Republican Senate and Democratic House didn’t pass any budget legislation over to the governor during the first special session this year. A partial government shutdown is possible if the legislature fails to pass a budget this session. “They’ve got to become reality-based at this point,” Inslee said. [KUOW, MyNorthwest]

Seattleites sound off on what it means to be a ‘local’

What does it mean to be a Seattleite?

What does it take to become a Seattle 'local'? We asked your neighbors, new and old, and included some fascinating stats from Seattle CityClub's new report on #Seattle: Now, we want to hear from you. Watch the clip and tell us in the comments below: What do YOU think it means to be a Seattleite? And how do you become one? #sponsoredby Seattle CityClub

Posted by The Evergrey on Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Local media startup The Evergrey asked Seattle residents what it means to be a “local,” in a new video that dives into the complex nature of town with such a rapidly-growing transplant population. The activewear uniform, Subaru ride, and progressive politics were commonly cited identifiers in the video. One resident says a willingness to do activities in the rain, where others would stay inside, marks a true local. Another said, “you have to have an appreciation of what makes Seattle, Seattle.” The video uses data from a new Civic Health Report, which Seattle CityClub presented at an event earlier this week. [The Evergrey, GeekWire]

Seattle City Council approves landmark police oversight bill

Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez pushed for police oversight reform. (GeekWire Photo)

Seattle councilmembers unanimously approved a civilian oversight bill that would create three governing bodies — Office of Police Accountability, Office of the Inspector General, and Community Police Commission — to investigate police activity and hold officers accountable for wrongdoing. The bill has to go through negotiations with police unions and a ruling from a federal judge before it will be implemented but lawmakers counted the vote a success nevertheless. The council also wrote into law an existing policy that allows people in Seattle to record and comment on police activity. [Seattle Met]

Trump’s proposed budget cuts funding for Sound Transit

Seattle is preparing for 24 new transportation projects. (Sound Transit Photo).

President Trump’s federal budget proposal would cut more than $1 billion in funding for Sound Transit, cash the department was relying on to extend Seattle’s light rail to Lynnwood. “I think it would be very difficult to make those dollars up,” said Sound Transit Chair Dave Somers. The department’s CEO, along with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority issued a statement of opposition to Trump’s proposed cuts. [My Northwest]

Also note: There are 21 people running for mayor of Seattle in a race left wide open by incumbent Ed Murray’s decision not to run. Seattle Weekly has a good roundup of the candidates, by the numbers, in this unusual race that has big implications for the tech community and Seattle at large. The primary election for mayor is August 1.

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